The Top High Efficiency Washing Machine Choices For 2012

by Nicola Temple on April 16, 2012

I was glancing back at Joe’s article on the Top Five High Efficiency Washing Machine Choices for 2010 and it really struck me how washers have improved in just two short years. The top models in 2010 had an estimated annual energy use of 107 kWh/year, whereas the 2012 top models are down to 83 kWh/year.

This year, I’m again listing the most efficient washing machine choices that qualify for the ENERGY STAR label. To qualify, washers must be 30% more efficient than non-qualified models and have a capacity of 1.63 cubic feet or greater.

ENERGY STAR qualifies only large capacity washing machines so that fewer loads are required to do the same amount of laundry. Washers are rated on water use and energy efficiency. On average, an ENERGY STAR washer will use 50% less water per load than a non-qualified model.

This year, I’ve broken the list up into front load washers and top load washers. Generally, front load washers are more efficient as they take use gravity to their advantage in tumbling. However, there have been significant changes to top-load models to make them more efficient.

Although new top-load models might look like your old standard washing machine, they no longer waste water by filling up the big tub. They wash the clothes by flipping and spinning them through a stream of water. The same concept is used for the rinse cycle. Instead of soaking the clothes in the tub, the machine rinses using a repeated high-pressure spray that uses far less water. So, given these new features, top loaders are becoming far more efficient.

The washers are rated by a measure of energy efficiency called the modified energy factor (MEF) and by their water efficiency, or water factor (WF), which is a measure of the gallons of water consumed per cubic foot of capacity.  Basically, the most efficient washers have a high MEF and low WF.

So, with that in mind, here are the top three high efficiency washing machine models being sold in 2012. The ‘*’ in the model number indicates that any number or letter may appear in this space.


1) Samsung WF455A*GS** and WF457A*GS** – with a 4.47 cu ft capacity, annual energy use of 90, kWh/year, and an MEF of 3.42 and WF of 2.69.

2) Crosley CFW7700** – 3.65 cu ft, 83 kWh/year, MEF 3.09, and WF 3.3.

3) Frigidaire FAFW4011**, FAFW4070** – 3.65 cu ft, 83 kWh/year, MEF 2.91, and WF 3.6.

high efficiency washing machine

Improvements to top-loader technology have made them a high efficiency washing machine worth noting in 2012. This is the LG WT5170H* model.


1)      LG WT5070C* and WT5170H* – 4.67 cu ft, 170 kWh/year, MEF 2.75, and WF 3.7.

2)      LG WT6001H* – 4.67 cu ft, 182 kWh/year, MEF 2.69, and WF 3.6.

3)      Whirlpool  WTW8200Y*+, WTW8240Y*+, WTW8400Y*+, WTW8440Y*+, WTW8600Y*+, and WTW8800Y*+ – 4.60 cu ft, 183 kWh/year, MEF 2.65, and WF 3.71.

If you’re unsure as to whether you should replace your old washing machine, keep in mind that any machines manufactured prior to 1998 are significantly less efficient than newer models.

If you do decide to upgrade to a newer, high efficiency washing machine in 2012, remember to recycle your old washing machine.

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